January February March 2011
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1
D E P A R T M E N T S
Ask the PASTOR
The tomb is empty
Q: What is so special about Easter? Isn't it a pagan holiday that Christians have adopted?
A: I purposely used the term "Easter" in the question for a reason. Actually, while I much prefer the term "Resurrection Sunday", I want to emphasize that we cannot judge a holiday or a Christian celebration on the basis of its name.
Today, while the terms "Easter" and "Resurrection Sunday" are both used, many say "Easter" is a pagan term and thus ought to be abandoned. While it's true that the word "Easter" derives from the name of a pagan god, the word no longer carries a pagan meaning. When I was taking Greek, my teacher, the late Dr. Fred Veltman, warned us to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking the Greek words could be properly defined by their "root meanings". Word "roots" may shed light on a term, but often the term derives a meaning of its own with the passing of time and the evolution of word use. For example, the Greek word for "servant" is said to have a root meaning of "under rower". However, it is sometimes used interchangeably with another word for servant often translated "deacon".
The point I am making is this: let us not be quick to judge people's worship on the basis of the names of the days they worship. Often people may be communicating the derived meaning of a name, not the root meaning. Some people go so far to say that if people worship on Sunday, they are worshiping the sun god. Well, they are no more worshiping the sun god than those who worship on Saturday are worshiping the Roman god of the harvest, Saturn.
Call it Resurrection Sunday or Easter—the tomb is empty! Without the resurrection, our preaching is useless, our faith is futile, we are still in our sins, our dead loved ones are lost, and we are to be pitied more than all men. However, Christ is raised! (YES!) Our sins are forgiven, we are children of God, we have eternal life, we have peace with God, we have the Holy Spirit, we are freed from the law, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son. We are now qualified for our inheritance in light. Yes, we serve a Risen Savior!
Let us with joy unspeakable join Mary who worshiped at the feet of the Risen Lord on that first Resurrection Sunday! Spread the good news! The Lord is risen—yes, the Lord is risen indeed! †
Free book for Adventists
The newly revised printing of White Washed by former Adventist pastor, Sydney Cleveland, will be ready for distribution during April; however, you may request your copy now. We have received funding to give away over a thousand copies to individual members of the Seventh-day Adventist church who will read this powerful book. It has one new chapter entitled, "Do God's True Prophets Take Advice From the Dead?"
If you are a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church and wish to read this book on Ellen White, just go to the LAM Publications, LLC web site: www.Ratzlaf.com/page3.html. There, choose, "White Washed free to SDA members." There is no cost except the normal shipping charge. If you are not an Adventist member, you may purchase it as usual. Simply click on "White Washed" and proceed to check out. The purchase edition of White Washed will not be on the website until we receive inventory during April.
Copyright 2011 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Glendale, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 4, 2011. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale and Carolyn Ratzlaff have authored five books concerning Adventism: Sabbath in Christ—a volume that explains new covenant Sabbath rest, Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism—explores the unique doctrine of a pre-advent judgment that decides eternal destinies, Truth About Adventist "Truth"—a little book that's perfect to give to Christians that need to understand Adventism, Truth Led Me Out—in which Dale Ratzlaff tells his own story of following Jesus, no matter the cost, and My Cup Overflows—Carolyn's autobiography. Each of these books is available at www.LifeAssuranceMinistries.com or by phoning 800-355-7073.
Dale Ratzlaff, the founder of Life Assurance Ministries and Proclamation! magazine